Missouri Adoptee Rights Act
In May 2016, the Missouri legislature passed HB1599, the Missouri Adoptee Rights Act. This new legislation grants access to original birth certificates for anyone adopted in Missouri between 1941 and 1986. This is a wonderful opportunity for adoptees to learn more about their biological history. However, the law may compromise the rights of birth parents as original birth certificates contain their names and often contact information. Unlike how adoption is commonly seen as a selfless and courageous decision today, there was often stigma and shame associated with the adoption in years past. Many women never shared their adoption story with their loved ones. And at the time of the adoption, were assured of confidentiality. In an effort to ensure this confidentiality continues to be respected, LFCS wants to raise awareness among birth parents of how this new law may affect them.
What Does This Law Do, Exactly?
- Allows an adopted individual (or his or her attorney) to apply for an original copy of his or her birth certificate.
- Outlines when an adopted person is able to obtain a copy of a redacted original birth certificate as well as an unaltered original birth certificate.
- Creates a contact preference form and medical history form to be completed by birth parents and attached to the original birth certificate of the adopted person.
- These forms will be made available by the court and the clerk of the court must send the form and certificate of decree of adoption to the state registrar. The law outlines the processes to be followed for each form.
The law requires a public notification period which ends on January 2018. No original birth certificates will be issued before January 1, 2018, unless the adopted person was born before 1941. For more information visit www.dhss.mo.gov